Pecan and Fig Jam Crostini
Show your love one you care by giving them a dairy free vegetarian meal this Valentines Day. I know, this sounds insane saying this about the holiday meant for oyster Rockefellar, cheese fondue, butter drenched lobster, and milk chocolate in all forms. All of those decadent items sound like the perfect preparation for a romantic meal. However, what isn’t romantic is how our love of decadence is contributing to a horrendous spike in heart disease and cancer. There is very good research that shows removing dairy and meat from your meal helps your health tremendously. An interesting documentary that goes through the history of medical research and our consumption trends is Forks Over Knives, which can be streamed on Netflix. Currently, I am reading the background research for the movie in a book called The China Study. I have known about the China Study, but held off on reading it until I knew I was ready to absorb the information. After making efforts to learn how to cook well and reduce dairy, we felt like we were ready to read about the connections between health and a vegan diet.
Last year, one of us had a bit of a health scare, where we realized that we were leaning on our vegetarian-ness as a guarantee for good cholesterol and blood pressure. Well, it turns out eating cheese like you are being paid by the dairy industry does not work too well. Without using any drugs, we rapidly reduced our cholesterol levels, and lost weight- soley based on eliminating dairy. Having already written the prescription for Lipitor, our doctor was in disbelief. He couldn’t believe that we made such dramatic changes just through diet. I spent the year learning how to do vegan alternatives to our diet, and we limited to dairy once a day, if any. Now a year later, we were starting to creep into old habits. Definitely not as bad as before, but there was room for improvement. So, we are giving ourselves a reality check with research. Truly, I love my husband and daughter, and I want us to be around for a long, long time, and switching over to eating dairy-free as much as possible is the way I can help contribute to their longevity. I can’t think of a better way to tell them how much I love them.
About the Recipe: This Pecan and Fig Jam crostini is dairy free. It is a variation from Giada’s Kitchen, where she uses hazelnuts and Romano cheese. Hazelnuts tend to be harder to find, so I switched to pecans. Since Romano cheese adds a salty flavor, I took out the cheese and replaced it with a minuscule amount of sea salt. Taking out the dairy also means this appetizer does not need to be refrigerated. Giada also makes the jam from scratch with brandy, but seriously I don’t know a person who has time to dedicate that much to an appetizer. I wanted to come up with something easy that wouldn’t detract from your efforts towards the main event. So, I used a fig jam that I had found at a speciality food and wine store, like the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg,Va or the Balduccis.
Pecan and Fig Jam Crostini
- 1 whole wheat baguette, sliced thinly
- olive oil
- sea salt
- 1/2 cup of pecans
- 1/2 cup of fig jam
- 1 apple, sliced very thinly
1. Preheat the oven to 375
2. In a coffee grinder or by hand, crush the pecans. It can have chunks and dust
3. Place the sliced bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven for 7 minutes.
4. Remove the bread and let cool. Once they are cool, top with jam, sprinkle crushed pecans, and top with an apple slice.